Iran formally opened a secondary market for hard currency Tuesday, abandoning after three months an effort to dictate a single exchange rate for the rial against the dollar as the threat of U.S. sanctions pressures the Iranian currency.
Indian refiners cut imports of Iranian oil last month as they started weaning their plants off crude from the country to avoid sanctions by the United States that are set to take effect in November.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of using its embassies to plot terrorist attacks in Europe and warned Tehran that its actions have "a real high cost" after it threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Fundamentally, the JCPOA was founded on a flawed doctrine: its supporters believed that by providing economic relief to a rogue state, we could coax it into moderating its behaviour. In reality, giving in to the demands of an aggressor may buy you some time, but it will not secure long-term safety. The Iranian regime has learnt that by posturing and threatening it can get what it wants from the West. This is a lesson that must be unlearnt. Despite the collapse of the agreement, the one thing on which all partners remain aligned is the need to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This common commitment must be used to bring the partners together once again to find a new deal. Iran needs to be shown that the only route to favourable business arrangements with western companies is to demonstrate a credible, transparent and long-term commitment not to pursue a nuclear arsenal at any time in the future.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The United States will consider requests from some countries to be exempted from sanctions it will put in effect in November to prevent Iran from exporting oil, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.
U.S. government teams spent three days in Saudi Arabia discussing ways to cut off money flows to Iran without disrupting energy markets as Washington presses nations to stop buying Iranian oil by Nov. 4, a senior State Department official said.
Iran on Tuesday criticised India for not fulfilling its promise of making investments in the expansion of the strategically located Chabahar port and said New Delhi will stand to lose “special privileges” if it cuts import of Iranian oil.
An 18-year old gymnast named Maedeh Hojabri is the latest Iranian to confess to a crime on state television. Her offense? Posting videos on Instagram that featured her dancing to popular music without wearing a hijab… This kind of repression is not uncommon in Iran, and there’s usually very little the U.S. can do about it besides issue a public condemnation. In this case, however, President Donald Trump has a more forceful option: Re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, or IRIB, the umbrella organization that controls the regime’s foreign and domestic state-run media.
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday appointed Javaid Rehman, a British-Pakistani lawyer and academic, as the new special rapporteur for human rights in Iran… The unrest should spur Rehman to highlight not only Iran’s longstanding domestic repression but also the ongoing protests and the regime’s bloody response to them. In so doing, the new special rapporteur can demonstrate that the world is watching – and that international pressure will not cease until Tehran addresses its people’s rightful demands.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
New details have emerged about several Iranian women recently arrested in Iran for posting videos of themselves dancing on social media – arrests that have sparked an international social media backlash.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
A top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will visit Moscow on Wednesday to deliver a message to President Vladimir Putin, state television reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met two senior Russian officials in his office Tuesday and told them Iran must leave all of Syria, just hours before flying to Moscow on Wednesday and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A major purpose of Iran wanting to enlarge its footprint in Syria may be to hide aspects of its nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency, former top IDF military intelligence official Yossi Kuperwasser said Wednesday.
While America’s closest allies in Europe viewed with a sense of dread Trump’s interest in partnering with Putin, three countries that enjoyed unparallelled influence with the incoming Administration—Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E.—privately embraced the goal. Officials from the three countries have repeatedly encouraged their American counterparts to consider ending the Ukraine-related sanctions in return for Putin’s help in removing Iranian forces from Syria.
OTHER IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
For much of his presidency, Hassan Rouhani has been at loggerheads with Iran’s military and conservative establishment, as he forged diplomatic ties with the West to break his country’s international isolation. But now with his political survival in question, Mr. Rouhani is sounding a lot like Iran’s hard-liners.
IRANIAN REGIONAL AGGRESSION
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramped up his warnings to Iran on Tuesday, saying that the U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies would pay a "real high cost" for Tehran's "malign behavior" in the Middle East and elsewhere.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
The Trump administration accused Tehran on Tuesday of plotting a terrorist attack against a regime opposition rally held in Paris last month.
The United States designated a Shiite militant group in Bahrain as a foreign terrorist organization Tuesday to ramp up pressure on Iran. The al-Ashtar Brigades are “yet another in a long line of Iranian-sponsored terrorists who kill on behalf of a corrupt regime,” Nathan Sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, said in a statement detailing the designation.
Germany’s federal prosecutor on Wednesday remanded in custody an Iranian diplomat suspected of having been involved in a plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in France but said the suspect could still be extradited to Belgium.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Brussels on Tuesday, where he plans meetings on the sidelines of the NATO summit aimed at stepping up pressure on Iran and reassuring allies about alternative oil supplies, a State Department official said.